Opening a new business is not easy for anyone. Still, it’s a complicated process for immigrants and members of minorities, who often lack access to the same resources and support that U.S.-born citizens and non-minority individuals typically receive. But that doesn’t mean that opening a successful business as a minority or immigrant is impossible. It also doesn’t mean you should give up on your business dreams! Below, our team of experts from TaxRobot will explore some of the best business grants available for immigrants and minorities.
Minority Small Business Grants: Who Qualifies?
For a business to classify as “minority-owned,” it needs to be at least 51% owned by a member of a minority group, such as a Hispanic-American, African-American, Asian-American, American Indian, Alaskan Native, or a Pacific Islander. The business will often need to be certified as a disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) or a minority business enterprise (MBE) to qualify for specific grants or loans. However, this is not always a requirement, so it’s essential to research each grant you apply for before undertaking either of these certification processes.
Key Government Grants for Minority-Owned Businesses
Grants given by the government to support small businesses come in three specific forms; local, state, and federal. In the following sections, we’ll dive into a few of the more significant grants offered by state and federal agencies and briefly explain the basics regarding how local grants tend to operate. We’ll also briefly explain the role of private minority business grants in providing your new business with the critical funding it needs to get off the ground.
Locally Funded Minority Business Grants
We won’t get too in-depth about the grants offered at a local level since there is a massive range of them available in different communities across the country. Just be sure to research what kind of local grants are available to minorities and immigrant-owned businesses in your area. Also, keep in mind that local grants are typically small compared to state and federal grants and are often based on improving the community. If your business is specifically focused on bettering your town, county, or state, local grants may be a great starting point for funding.
State-Funded Minority Business Grants
State governments typically offer a range of grants to small businesses, especially those operated by minority members and immigrants. While these grants generally provide less money than federal grants (explored below), they offer more than local grants. They can be a fantastic funding source for any new business that needs help establishing its operations.
The advantage of state grants for minority businesses is that fewer people are applying for them, meaning you’ll have a decent chance of receiving funding. However, many are also classified as matching grants, meaning that businesses need to meet the amount of money they’re given with their own funds. Because state grants come with a range of prospective pros and cons, it’s always good to research them in-depth before applying for any. Consider searching for “state minority business grants” in your state on Google to learn more and see what’s available.
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Out of the three types of government grants listed above, federal grants typically offer the most significant amounts of money and are the most competitive to acquire. They are also precise in their requirements for who qualifies for funds and what they expect businesses to do with any money given since they’re typically tied directly to specific government agencies with particular aims. We’ll list two of the best avenues to access federally-funded grants below, but check out the grants.gov database to find others!
Federally Funded Minority Business Grants
The Federal State Technology Partnership (FAST) Program
The (FAST) Program offers a range of advantages to small businesses run by minorities and women that focus on next-generation research and development (R&D). They currently provide financial support (up to $125,000 per chosen applicant), outreach, and technical assistance to small businesses within the R&D field, especially if applicants are from rural or underrepresented communities.
The Minority Business Development Agency
The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is dedicated to connecting minority small business owners with stellar resources that can help them succeed, including markets, contracts, and grant capital. The government-run agency also operates several business centers throughout the country where minority small business owners can go to receive the help they need.
Private Grants for Minority-Owned Businesses
Aside from local, state, and federal grants, there are also several private grants that businesses can apply for. Some of them specifically support immigrant or minority-run businesses. However, they tend to be available for only limited amounts of time, so it can sometimes be tricky to find active ones to apply for. Stay on top of your research and look into the launch of new private grants every month or so to see if any relevant ones pop up in your area.
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Final Factors and Thoughts to Consider
Our team of dedicated business experts at TaxRobot sincerely hopes that the above information has helped you better understand the basics of the various small business grants available to minority and immigrant-run businesses. Consider reaching out to our experts online to learn more about our services and find more information on fantastic business funding sources that your small business or startup can leverage.
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